CAST ON 37 STITCHES
I was taught to knit when I was eight. This had nothing to do with my dexterity or artistic tendencies. It had everything to do with how The Powers That Be decided I had to learn about Patience, Persistence, Precision, and Pride In My Work. From two sticks and a ball of something that the cat played with that was once taken from a sheep? Right.
ROW 1: KNIT
My first project was meant to be a potholder. Cast on 37 stitches and knit for 50 rows. Repetition, I was told, would develop even tension and create perfectly formed stitches. My hands would develop dexterity and muscle memory, and the knit stitch would become second nature.
Naturally, the potholder was a disaster. It wasn’t even a square. It was a blob, a shapeless rag that even the cat sniffed at.
“So what do you think you should do?” asked The Powers That Be.
I had plenty of wonderful ideas: climb the tree so I could escape into the neighbour’s garden, get Dad to take me to the beach, bathe the cat … But I dutifully replied that I should try again. Correct answer. And The Powers That Be were pleased.
ROW 2: PURL
The blob became a polygon, then a trapezium, then a rectangle and eventually a square. Sort of. There followed a mysterious process of wetting it and blocking it on a mat to dry, and behold! a proper square that would live life as a potholder.
“See? You practised and persisted and succeeded. That was the garter stitch. Now learn to purl and use the stockinette stitch.”
CONTINUE IN PATTERN TO ROW 50
Years later, there are numerous potholders (the victims of learning different stitches), wash cloths, table mats, rugs and towels. Then there are blankets made up of squares, and scarves, sweaters and shawls.
There is also an ever growing stash of yarns and a collection of needles. And boxes of patterns. And bookmarked YouTube videos.
Did I actually learn any of the lessons as intended?
Patience? Check. Boatloads of it.
Persistence? Check. There are no shortcuts in knitting. To reach Row 142, you knit loop by loop till you get there.
Precision? Check. If a stitch looks odd or gets dropped, or the tension’s wrong, there may be nothing for it except to tink or frog.
Pride In My Work? Check. I’ll admit there’s a certain satisfaction in having handmade odds and ends scattered around the home. Or wound round a neck in winter.
There you have it: purls of wisdom, as learnt by a knitwit.
DAILY PROMPT ~ KNIT
Thank you, Tara R at Thin spiral notebook, for the inspiration.
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